Tuesday, November 17, 2015

In Need of Christmas

Christmas commercials and decorations started popping up on November 1st. The Hallmark Channel soon joined in with non-stop holiday movies. A local radio station began playing Christmas music. The Christmas season seems to come earlier every year, a fact which has troubled me in the past. I adore November, with its days of giving thanks, trees ablaze, and warm aromas. But this year I've already pulled out a favorite Christmas CD. I've thought about decorating. I've started my Advent reading.

I need Christmas this year.

College applications have been finished. The graduation annoucements have been ordered. The Senior portrait has been framed. The days with my girl in our home full-time are waning. Thoughts of watching Christmas specials and driving around town to look at lights ease the pain of seeing her wings unfurl. This is the last Christmas of my girl's childhood. It's beautiful and heart-breaking all at once.

I need Christmas this year.

Relationships strained by the gospel. Hurts and grievances both, unspoken. Wishing and wishing that I could just cry on Mama's shoulder.

I need Christmas this year.

One Thursday in October, we gathered with dear friends to celebrate the life of a father. The next Thursday, we stood beside those same friends in a blur of uniforms and crime scene tape as the coroner drove away with two more loved ones. It was, and is, surreal. I've never felt so completely helpless. I ache for their loss.

Oh! how I need Christmas this year!

A dozen years ago, my husband and I visited a friend in Paris. We walked through the Louvre, looked out from atop the Eiffel Tower, strolled the streets of the beautiful City of Lights. Today those same streets are lit with candles to honor those who lost their lives at the hands of terrorists. People who were enjoying an evening out, not knowing it would be their last.

Yes, I need Christmas this year.

Not the shopping lists or the decorations. Not the holiday movies or music. What I desperately need is the Christ of Christmas. I need to know that my worries of a girl leaving home, my sorrow for broken relationships, my grief for friends (and their much, much deeper grief), and my fears of the evil of this world have all been taken care of by a baby born in a manger. It's the most unlikely tale the world will ever hear, this story of Christmas. It is the best news a weary woman - indeed, a weary world - could receive. And yet even Christians have romanticized Jesus' birth to the point that I wonder if we truly recognize the full wonder of it. The baby heralded by angels and greeted by shepherds changed the fate of the world. Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes,
When the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords came into this world, he came into a stable. If you do not feel a sense of holy laughter within you, I do not see that you have a right to think that you are a Christian. Thank God, this is gospel, this is salvation. God turning upside down, reversing everything we have ever thought, everything we have taken pride in. The mighty? Why he will pull them down from their seats. He has been doing so. He is still doing so. Let any man arise and say he is going to govern, to be the god of the whole world; you need not be afraid - he will be put down. Every dictator has gone down; they all do. Finally, the devil and all that belong to him will go down to the lake of fire and will be destroyed forever. The Son of God has come into the world to do that. (as quoted here)
Tears fill my eyes as I read those words. Yes, time passes too quickly, those we love often wound us deeply, people die unexpectedly, and our enemy prowls about like a roaring lion (see 1 Peter 5:8), but Jesus' birth and his death give us hope in the midst of this fallen world. This is the truth of the gospel, the reason I need Christmas not just this year, but every year.

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
Galatians 4:4-7 (ESV)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing -- we all need reminder to trust in God this Christmas season.